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Letters to the Editor - Jan. 30

January 30, 2013

Affordable Care Act could bolster life expectancy

To the editor:

In Tom Firey’s Jan. 16 opinion piece, he takes a generally dismissive attitude toward the Affordable Care Act. The article asserts that what he does credit the act for addressing, medical coverage “seems to be important.” Lack of medical coverage for 30 million to 50 million people would seem to warrant a higher qualifier than “seems.”

Firey also trashes any movement to a single-payer system, equating it with socialism. This is laughable. The largest medical provider program in the U.S. is a single-payer (read socialist) system — Medicare. So all of us 65 and older who have elected coverage under the plan must be, according to Firey, willing participants in a stealth program to subvert the U.S. into a socialist state.

On the issue of Medicare, an article in the Washington Post poses an interesting take on the benefits of medical coverage. The writer recites the sad state of health care in the U.S. While we do a great job in medical procedures, the delivery of care is an entirely different issue. We pay far more for medical care than any other advanced country, and for this we get poor results. According to the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, Americans have the highest death rate for those 50 and younger among 17 industrialized countries studied. The 2012 CIA Fact Book lists the U.S. in 50th place for infant mortality, while Cuba ranks 41st and Slovenia ranks 27th.

However, the same reports indicate that by age 80, life expectancy in the U.S. is comparable to the other nations. So, what gives? Maybe this group has benefited from “universal medical coverage,” or Medicare. Maybe they have finally caught up with their peers in having stable and predictable medical coverage, resulting in improved life expectancy. So, does medical coverage “... seem to be important?”

Perhaps if those 30 million to 50 million without coverage could have stable and consistent coverage through the Affordable Care Act, we might have a chance to reduce infant mortality — maybe even passing Cuba and closing in on Slovenia. Such an advance would seem to be important.

Brooks McBurney
Hagerstown


City of Hagerstown has become divided

To the editor:

Over the years, the City of Hagerstown has turned into five different small “towns.” Ask anyone if they live in Hagerstown and they’ll be very quick to let you know if it’s downtown, the East End, the South End, the North End or the West End. Now, I don’t know where the boundaries are that separate one little town from another, but somewhere along the way, the citizens have drawn the lines of separation.

One thing I know for sure is that there’s pride about living in any of the above mentioned sections of Hagerstown. Talk to anyone from any of the five sections and they’re going to boast about what their section has to offer over the other four.

For example, they might say they like living in the South End because they’re close to the mall and other shopping areas. Or, they might let you know that living in the East End is where the doctors offices and other medical facilities are. Folks from downtown brag about the university and The Maryland Theatre.

The one thing that the people living in each of these areas do not take kindly to from outsiders is having any flaws pointed out about their area. They know what the problems are within their own section and they don’t need someone from another section telling them how to resolve the situations. They like taking care of their own problems. In other words, if someone in the West End doesn’t like something that’s going on in the North End, he might just want to keep it to himself.

I don’t know what has brought about this gradual division of the City of Hagerstown. I’ve lived in other towns and cities and have never seen this happen.

I do, however, respect the pride and the friendly rivalry of the people in each of these small towns that make up the great city of Hagerstown.

George Sylvester Coyle
Hagerstown


Much of media is giving Obama a free pass

To the editor:

To the 51 percent who voted for President Obama: I bet you want to take your vote back, for you are finding out that Obamacare is destroying jobs; businesses are cutting hours and not hiring, giving us more taxes; and Medicare is being cut and medical costs are going up to pay for those who don’t have it.

If you watched Fox News, Obama wouldn’t have been elected, because you would have been informed on his agenda. The media you are watching is not giving the full interview or the truth. In other words, he gets a free pass.

The media and the Democrats got on President Bush about aid after Hurricane Katrina. Bush passed the first bill in four days, and a week for the rest of the money. Now, let’s look at Obama. It has taken him 72 days to send money to New York and New Jersey, and that’s just part of the bill. Yes, you’ll blame the Republicans for holding up the bill, but did you see how much pork was added? No, you did not.

Hold onto your wallet, for this is just the beginning.   

Anne and Buddy Keyser
Boonsboro

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